Dear DGH Community,
On Friday, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges related to his killing two protesters and severely injuring a third during protests that stemmed from police shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back in front of three of his children. This trial highlights the horrible impact of gun violence and vigilante violence in the context of systemic racism and cavernous political fractures in America. Our thoughts are with the victims of this senseless violence and their families.
We recognize that this verdict is profoundly disturbing to many in our community, and, as President Biden said, “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned.” As we prepare for another verdict in the ongoing trial of three white vigilantes who killed Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was out for a jog in his neighborhood, we are especially concerned that cases such as these can contribute to a collective feeling of decreased safety living in the United States, especially for BIPOC and international students, staff, and faculty. The verdict on Rittenhouse brings to light complex issues in our society and is the latest reminder of how much work is still needed to end racism and create a society that is truly equitable.
Gun violence is a global public health threat, and the United States is an outlier in this arena. This threat is compounded by structural racism, police violence, and vigilantism. We condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse and this verdict is the latest reminder of how essential it is for us to continue to work together to dismantle systemic racism and achieve police and justice system reform.
For those needing additional support during this time, help is available by contacting the following:
In support and solidarity,
Rahmeh AbuShweimeh, DEI Committee Co-Chair
Jay Mas Gilvydis, DEI Committee Co-Chair
Jenell Stewart, DEI Committee Co-Chair
Susan Graham, DGH Associate Chair for Academic Programs
Dana Panteleeff, DGH Director of Finance and Administration
Judd Walson, DGH Vice Chair
Judy Wasserheit, DGH Chair